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Mobile Banking: Apple Customers Hungry For iBank

Catherine New, The Huffington Post
Wednesday, 21 Mar 2012 | 4:09 PM ET
iPhone
ADRIAN DENNIS | AFP | Getty Images
iPhone

Personal banking with Apple? It could happen.

With the growing trend toward mobile banking, Apple is already serving as a digital "bank branch" for many iPhone and iPad users. All the Cupertino-based company needs to do now is provide their own virtual teller-like services. And it looks like they might be doing just that.

Earlier this month,the company filed a patent for an iWallet, according the International Business Times. According to the IBT story, the iWallet will allow you to manage all of your financial accounts and make payments directly on your iPhone. To be sure, the iWallet will not offer all of the services that a traditional retail bank account does—but it could offer enough transactional features that it could one day replace basic checking accounts.

And it seems like Apple customers are hungry for an iBanking service.

Among current Apple users, 43 percent said they might stash their cash with the company if it offered banking services, according to a recent report according to marketing and research firm KAE (h/t to tech blog GigaOm), which collected data from more than 5,000 people in the United States and the UK. Overall one in 10 people said they'd consider ditching their current bank to bank with the tech company.

As Apple has been busy making and selling "bank branches" in the form of iPhones and iPads--banking customers have been trying out mobile banking in greater numbers. One in five Americans are accessing their bank accounts via mobile devices, according to data published by the Federal Reserve earlier this month.

Nearly half of Americans own a smartphone (the category of phone that iPhones fall under) and tablet usage is posed to potentially overtake desktop computers. Last week Apple debuted the latest version of the iPad.

It's not just Apple that could give traditional retail banks a run for the money. Other mobile payment platforms, including PayPal and Google Wallet, are moving in on territory that used to be only under banks' supervision. Meanwhile, big banks are hitting back with their own apps and integrated rewards programs to hold onto customers.

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